Kinoko Loco: Sabikui Bisco

I’m a fan of the combination of serious and silly in the anime Sabikui Bisco. Its premise of a post-apocalyptic world that revolves around conflicting views on mushrooms is patently absurd, but the sincerity of its characters is endearing and gives weight to their actions and decisions.

The world of Sabikui Bisco is full of peculiar individuals. There’s Milo, a gentle doctor who experiments with black market mushrooms in the hopes of healing his sister who’s afflicted with the “rust” disease that plagues humanity. The same sister, Pawoo, leads an elite guard in their city using her depth-defying strength. There’s the corrupt leader Kurokawa, who controls the city with an iron fist and goons in mascot heads. And then you have the brash protagonist Bisco, a member of the mushroom tribe who slings mushroom arrows and knows the truth about fungus: While it’s commonly believed to be the cause of rust, the reality is quite different. This here is an eclectic bunch, to say the least—but as ridiculous as they are, they’re all deadly serious about either saving the world or controlling it.

The general energy of the series reminds me a lot of the 1990s anime I grew up with. It’s not so much that Sabikui Bisco traffics in 90s tropes, but rather that it has a particular brand of irreverence combined with a lack of archetypes common to anime made in the 21st century. Had it emerged two or three e decades earlier, I don’t think it would look out of place alongside titles like Slayers or Trigun. In fact, there’s something very Vash the Stampede–esque about Bisco.

The anime thus far only covers part of what is an ongoing light novel series, but it ends in a satisfying place and never loses sight of that balance of earnestness and absurdity. Sabikui Bisco is about heroes going out there and doing things, and that simplicity is welcome.